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Invasive Plant ID/Pull Service

A team of local native species gardening experts willing to tour your propery and identify or/and pull any invasive plants you may have.
  [vote for,

As some of you may already know from visiting my HB profile page and/or personal website, my husband and I have embarked on a noble, but difficult project. We are attempting to convert our suburban yard into a native prairie of sorts. This conversion entails ridding the yard of the typical suburban, mowed, "turf" grass that most people have growing around their homes, and replacing it with species of grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees that are native to the local area.

The reasons for this project are rooted in maintenance & pollution minimization. Native plants are not as dependent on their owners for care as non-native species (like "turf" grass) and they don't need to be mowed weekly. They have evolved and adapted to love the weather and soil conditions, so once established, they pretty much take care of themselves. We also learned that they help save water and replenish nutrients to the soil.

As we became more dedicated to the cause and learned which native species we might like to grow and plant, we realized that the project doesn't end when the "turf" grass is dead and the native stuff is planted. On the contrary, it had only just begun!

When our seeds started to sprout, we realized we did not know how to identify them. We had almost always come across photos of full-grown plants in our reference materials, not the babies.

We also knew some non-native seeds had planted themselves among the native. Although we'd spent lots of time and money on learning the various native species in the area, we had neglected to focus on increasing our knowledge of the "weeds" that do not belong in our new prairie.

An important part of "going native" is vigilant weed control, especially when first starting out. We are only now just beginning to learn about the introduced and invasive species of vegetation that have spread in our area, and are crowding out our precious native species. In fact, there are laws about planting and selling certain species that are super-destructive. (Anyone heard of kudzu?)

Now, to get to the point of this post.

The people working for this service would be highly specialized experts who have learned to quickly and accurately identify the many species of vegetation that can be found in their areas. They'd have to know whether they are native to the local area, whether they are exotic (introduced by humans from another area of the state, country, or world), or whether they are downright invasive to the area and must be destroyed.

Services would be at a cost, of course. (Expertise does not come easy or cheap!) The cost would vary, depending on the number of people and the amount of time required for a job.

The optional service of actually pulling the invasives out could be tacked on for an additional fee. Exotics might also be pulled, if desired. (I would expect the experts to identify to the propery owners which species would be pulled BEFORE doing so, to avoid any legal issues.)

Other services, such as a personalized photo-reference of the yard during their visit (for future reference) could be offered as well.

This service would be a great help to us and others wishing to save beneficial, beautiful, and ecologically sound species native to their areas. It would allow us to move on with our project with confidence that we are not confusing species for one another, that we are pulling only harmful species out and leaving to mature only native species.

We realize that it really does take a scientist to get this right. Being chained to a desk all day, however, does not allow the average schmoes like us to become as skilled as we'd like to be.

XSarenkaX, Jun 24 2005

Native Gardening http://www.npca.org...ative_gardening.asp
Why go native? Read here. [XSarenkaX, Jun 24 2005]

What the heck is an invasive plant? http://www.nps.gov/...ien/pubs/whatis.pdf
Read all about it here. [XSarenkaX, Jun 24 2005]

sorry, XSX - not quite sure what you want to achieve here. http://www.bbc.co.u...tv/britaingoeswild/
I have dedicated my garden this year, to native wild flowers. this link is dedicated to Miss Beer who used to bring mysterious stuff e.g. Dodder to our biology classes. [po, Jun 24 2005]

dodder, whatever it is. http://www.botanica...gmh/d/dodder16.html
[po, Jun 24 2005]

Wild Ones http://www.for-wild.org/
We recently joined this group. They would likely qualify as the experts I'd like in my service. [XSarenkaX, Jun 24 2005]

XSarenkaX's Profile Page http://www.halfbakery.com/user/XSarenkaX
I mention the Prairie Project here. (No bats yet, though.) [XSarenkaX, Jun 24 2005, last modified Jun 27 2005]

Dog Weeders Dog_20Weeder
These guys might do it for a Scooby snack. [bungston, Jun 24 2005]

Goose Lake Prairie, Illinois http://dnr.state.il...east/goose/home.htm
Illinois' largest remaining virgin prarie area. [Laughs Last, Jun 25 2005]

Illinois Natural History Survey http://www.inhs.uiu...eau/speakintro.html
They will come and give a seminar on your subject. If they expect a crowd, I'll show up. [Laughs Last, Jun 25 2005]

Invasive Species, By Degree of Invasiveness http://www.fs.fed.u...ange/weed/Sec3B.htm
Garlic Mustard is HIGHLY INVASIVE, [bunston]! Sorry. [XSarenkaX, Jun 27 2005]

Natural Garden: Native Plant Listing http://www.thenatur...m/NativeCatalog.pdf
NG is a local nursery near my house. We got our native plants from them. This is a listing of what's native to our area. Great info - no pictures, though. [XSarenkaX, Jun 30 2005]


po, Jun 24 2005

       No, no swapping. I need someone to remove the bad stuff, or at least tell me which stuff is bad and which is good. That's all.
XSarenkaX, Jun 24 2005

       No wonder you've been gone so long - you must have been typing the entire time.   

       You actually had my bun from the title. When I moved to Seattle from California, most of the plants and weeds were new to me. After two years I've almost figured out what are weeds and what are plants, but it certainly wasn't an easy process. Because it took a cycle or two to recognize all of the weeds, there are weed seeds everywhere and I'm considering ripping everything out of my back garden and starting over.
Worldgineer, Jun 24 2005

       [Worldgineer]: Har-har re: the typing. ;)   

       We just realized the cute little patches of low greenery in corners of our yard are actually immature Garlic Mustard plants, which are an invasive offender. We just pulled it all out yesterday. I sure wish we hadn't let it spread for so long before realizing it has to go.
XSarenkaX, Jun 24 2005

       <hangs head in shame & raises green thumb>
I'm guilty of haste and lack of forethought.
reensure, Jun 24 2005

       / Native plants are not as dependent on their owners for care as non-native species (like "turf" grass) and they don't need to be mowed weekly. They have evolved and adapted to love the weather and soil conditions, so once established, they pretty much take care of themselves./ - All true for garlic mustard as well! Go go GM!   

       But instead of these experts-for-hire, I suggest a yard buffalo. A goat might suffice. Also periodic fires. Bring in the goat first.
bungston, Jun 24 2005

       It might be a little bit late now, but you could plant known seeds into indoor pots with clean potting soil. Wait to see what each native species looks like at different stages of development as a benchmark. Take pictures and post to webpage the results of your study.   

       Maybe someone has already done this, and we just need to find them.   

       You could skip the pots and labeling by just having a few designated areas of hand sorted seeds, then just see what is dominant in each area.
Laughs Last, Jun 24 2005

       Another option would be to treat the extant lawn with strong herbicide, till deeply, then cut some strips of prairie and place them in the yard.   

       On thinking about the deep roots of prairie plants, these might be less strips than cubes. But if the pioneers can do it, you can too!
bungston, Jun 24 2005

       Is there a sod museum somewhere with a plot of authentic virgin sod for culturing?
reensure, Jun 25 2005

       You could try visiting a native prarie in your area, and see what it looks like at the moment. Just be sure to remember the exact details of a couple hundred plants, and you're all set.
Laughs Last, Jun 25 2005

       I would expect a fairly experienced local landscaper to be capable of this.
waugsqueke, Jun 27 2005

       [Laughs Last]: Thanks for your link. Hubby & I are planning to visit Goose Lake Prairie some weekend soon, and get a better feel for the established prairie there.
XSarenkaX, Jun 27 2005

       [El Dorado Jr]: Uh, I forgot to mention we are trying to refrain from the use of chemicals if possible. The point is to return our little spot of land back to a balanced, nature-friendly ecosystem. The world is already poisoned enough with all the human-made chemical concoctions.
XSarenkaX, Jun 29 2005


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